Tai Chi Y3D161: “Buddha’s Twist”

I don’t actually know what today’s movement is called.  I’ve been calling it “Buddha’s Twist” for a long time, since I forgot its real name.  Essentially, from the end of the single whip which comes immediately beforehand, one steps with the right foot, bringing the spiked-right-hand around.  The hand strikes sideways, using the force build up along the thumb-and-forefinger of the right hand.  It’s this cool wind-up strike which uses the whole body from left foot around to the fingertips of the right hand to deliver a blow, and it moves you forward (or backward!) by a radius of your whole body.

As single whip ends, your weight’s on the left,
and your left arm’s out in front, swift to strike,
thumb and first finger open like a cleft —
but bent at the elbow, to block as you like.
Lift the right foot, and swing it to the front:
your right arm’s straight, with your fingers all hooked.
The thumb-side of the hand will bear the brunt
of the blow you’ll land: it goes where you looked,
somewhere in front of your outstretched left hand.
Your whole body swings in this single step.
to commit a blow of surprising strength.
Do you need to stop short? Let the foot drop
and seek your balance at a shorter length.
Recall that bent knees will strengthen your stance,
and keep your spine tuned to gravity’s dance.

I do want to write about what else is going on. The tai chi form this morning was fine. That was the easy part.  However, during the qi gong maneuvers, I kept finding that my body was getting all sweaty and hot from this work.  Now, on the one hand, part of this is that it IS hot here this week.  Hard for it not to be uncomfortable and sweaty. But part of it also seems to be that I’ve developed myself through these forms enough that new muscle groups are taking over.  When I do the two spine-twisting exercises, Bend the Bow, and Bend the Bow to Shoot the Hawk, I find that my oblique muscles are getting into the act much more regularly without my specifically engaging them.  Good.

Push-ups. Today I could barely do 10, much less 20.  I did three, and then I stopped. I did two, and then I stopped. I did one. And then I stopped. I did two, and stopped.  I did two more, and I stopped. So that was bad.  But, and this was sort of exciting, those first three were nose-to-the-floor push-ups. Gold standard. When I started, I couldn’t do any of them. And I haven’t really tried since then.  But now, three at once.  Keep moving forward, right?

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